How To Have Your Own Backyard Weather Station
March 21, 2012

How To Have Your Own Backyard Weather Station

Joshua Kelly for

Red Orbit Meteorologist Joshua Kelly examines what makes up a weather station and how each instrument works.

Here is a list of what type of equipment associated with a weather station.

1. Barometer: The barometer´s purpose is to measure outside air pressure. Air pressure can be recorded in MB or INS of mercury. Here is an example of each.

-- 1013MB  or 29.92INS these are referred to as standard pressure of the atmosphere, when the numbers are lower we use the term low pressure and when the numbers are higher we use the term high pressure.

2. Thermometer : This instrument is used for exactly determining what the outside temperature is, we also use two scales for this measurement. The first is degrees F or degrees C.

-- 50F  = 10C these are the numbers that you see on the weather charts, if you were to go overseas you would see  the C one being used.

3. Wind Bird: There are many types of this apparatus from anything like the wind sock to a wind vane and the wind birds. All of these are methods to determine wind direction, while the wind vane only gives direction the other two methods also give wind speed.

Three common wind speed measurements:

-- Knots
-- Meters/second
-- Miles/hour

4. Rain Gauge: This is used to determine the amount of precipitation that has fallen at a given location. There are different ways to get this data from a digital rain bucket, to the backyard rain gauge that is placed in the garden.

-- Rain is measured in inches and also millimeters.

These are the main components that make up a weather station. As noted above all the instruments have an important part in helping observe the weather. Also some rules of thumb for installing the equipment is that the thermometer should be placed  in a shady area at the height of 6ft above ground this is to avoid interaction with the surface. Secondly the wind bird should be placed at around 30ft and the reason is to help get it out of the friction layer of the near surface this allows the readings to become more accurate.
Other things that come with a weather station is computer software which can be used to plot out the different graphic images so that a person can go back and look at what time did it rain, how much did it rain, when did the winds change directions and when did the front pass my house. All of these are very important pieces of information to help build and strengthen the weather models which are used to help create weather forecast.